Man dies in fiery crash in­volv­ing 3 big rigs on I-5 near Gus­tine

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Community - BY ROSALIO AHU­MADA rahu­[email protected]­bee.com

A 66-year-old Downey man died in a fiery crash late Tues­day in­volv­ing three big rigs on In­ter­state 5 near Gus­tine. The wreck stalled traf­fic through the night and into Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Author­i­ties had not re­leased the Downey man’s name. Stanis­laus County coro­ner of­fi­cials on Wed­nes­day morn­ing were try­ing to con­tact his fam­ily and con­firm his iden­tity.

The crash was re­ported shortly af­ter 10 p.m. Tues­day on the north­bound lanes of In­ter­state 5, just north of High­way 140, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol.

CHP in­ves­ti­ga­tors learned that the Downey man was driv­ing a 2012 Peter­bilt big rig north on In­ter­state 5 in the right lane at an un­known speed. That stretch of the free­way has two lanes in each di­rec­tion.

Lu­cas Bolanos, 45, of Ocean­side was driv­ing a 2010 In­ter­na­tional big rig with Leilani Bolanos, 12, of Ocean­side as his pas­sen­ger. They also were head­ing north on In­ter­state 5 but were stopped in the right lane ahead of Downey man and his big rig.

The Peter­bilt big rig was un­able to stop in time and rear-ended the Bolanos’ big rig, the CHP re­ported.

The im­pact caused a chain re­ac­tion and pushed Bolanos’ big rig into the rear of a stopped 2014 Freight­liner big rig driven by Satvir Par­mar, 28, of Seat­tle. His ve­hi­cle also had been in the right lane. Hardeep Singh, 30, also of Seat­tle, was Par­mar’s pas­sen­ger.

The Peter­bilt big rig the Downey man was driv­ing came to rest in the right lane and sub­se­quently caught fire. Af­ter fire­fight­ers ex­tin­guished the fire, they found the driver in the burnt big rig, the CHP said. He was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

No other in­juries were re­ported. CHP in­ves­ti­ga­tors had not de­ter­mined whether drugs or al­co­hol were a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in the crash.

About 7:30 a.m Wed­nes­day, north­bound traf­fic on In­ter­state 5 was backed up to Whit­worth Road, sev­eral miles south of the crash site, ac­cord­ing to the CHP’s on­line traf­fic in­ci­dent in­for­ma­tion.

By 8:45 a.m., author­i­ties had re­moved the crashed ve­hi­cles, but the right lane re­mained closed be­cause Cal­trans crews were work­ing on road re­pairs and cleanup at the crash site.

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